Nailed – Digital Stalking in Leeds, Yorkshire, England
Nothing prepared me for reading this book, certainly not Mick McCann’s first novel, ‘Coming Out As A Bowie Fan In Leeds, Yorkshire, England’. Whereas that book was a nostalgic, rose-tinted look back at a misspent, misfit youth this, his second novel, is a contemporary journey of unremitting tension that raises big questions about the rights of innocent people when they are caught up in a very real nightmare of conspiracy, kidnapping and surveillance.
Based on real events that started when the McCann family was suspected of making malicious phone calls using a SIM card Mrs McCann had given ways years earlier, the story weaves fact and fiction.
At the centre of it is the McCann family, trying to make sense of the blur of events. The power of the book is in the ordinariness of its characters, reacting as you and I would (although I don’t smoke!) speculating about the motives of others, piecing together bits of gossip and evidence with the hope of finding an answer.
The book has real onward momentum written in real time and with astute references to actual events in the outside world. For me, knowing the streets of Leeds where its set and being part of the One Mick Jones internet forum that tracked the developments that eventually led to the writing of the book lends an immediacy that is doubly compelling.
But the issues raised in the book go far wider than Leeds, Yorkshire, England and are unsettling for anyone who thinks that having a clean criminal record and leading an honest and decent life is enough to raise you above the risk of digital entrapment.
This book has a clear, focussed and unambiguous voice. Mick McCann writes from the heart and the words pour out with passion and vigour. When his head swims, so does yours; when he swears in disbelief, so do you; when he craves a fag, so do you (although I don’t smoke!!).
This is the best book I’ve read in years. Buy it now.